Are Short Stories Marketable?

I know you can sell short stories to magazines and have them published either online or in print, but I was surprised to discover that you can self-publish short stories through Amazon and sell them directly to customers.  I also learned there are distribution sites designed specifically to market individual electronic short stories directly to customers.

It sounds like fun!

Now all I’ve got to do is get a handle on my short stories and make them readable.

That doesn’t.

So, how would you go about marketing a short story?

For one, I wouldn’t expect them to make much of a profit.  I would do it for the fun of it.  I would sell them on my blogs and websites, announcing their availability on my social media sites without trying to push them into a wider awareness.  Keep costs as low as possible.  Try to break even.  Maybe give them the occasional nudge, but mostly watch and see what happens.

So, how would you go about marketing a short story?  Does it seem worth the effort?  What would you want to get out of the experience?

About Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie created and produces in answer to a call from God to use her experiences and gifts to help others. Stephanie is also the author of and two books that can be found on that site. Stephanie strives to share her love, faith, and talents in an inclusive manner to help others who know spiritual pain and who know the bitter taste of the dregs of despair.
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4 Responses to Are Short Stories Marketable?

  1. acflory says:

    Good question. Maybe shorts are the fiction equivalent of giveaways in non-fiction? I mean in non-fiction you can giveaway knowledge that you may have but you can’t really do that with novels. Short stories though might be a great way to raise your profile as a writer.

    • That’s what I’m thinking, but not just as giveaways.

      Okay, here’s what I’m thinking, since I didn’t explore this part in the post: In the traditional publishing model, novelists (especially in the speculative fiction genre) were expected to hone their craft and build up their reputation by writing and publishing (successfully) short stories prior to seeking a book contract. There are certainly exceptions, but only in the sense that rules are meant to be broken.

      This model works as long as there are enough readers reading short stories and enough venues to publish frequently enough to build said reputation.

      As those venues become fewer and even the good ones are weaned out due to unprofitability, it seems the tried-and-true method ceases to be viable.

      And does it really apply to indie writers anyway?

      But, if indie writers can self-publish short stories, too. Well, then that’s kind of a game-changer, isn’t? Why invest yourself in writing a great novel, investing in editing and cover design and the whole works, only to be forced to sell it for 99 cents or to give it away for free just to get people to give you a try? Instead, you can produce short stories–going a little bit cheaper on the investment end of things, but not too cheap–sell those for 99 cents or give them away free, attract readers who enjoy your work, and then break out that self-published novel for significantly more, because you can, because you’ve built a following!
      Worth considering, huh?

      • acflory says:

        Hmmm… When you put it that way it certainly is worth considering. Now that I’ve discovered that I can write super short little stories I was day-dreaming about publishing a small book of them – for exactly that purpose. However my cart is now very much in front of the horse in that the novel is almost ready whereas the shorts are still mostly a twinkle in my eye.

        If you have enough short stories of the right length I’d say put them out there! I’m sure there is enough of a cross-over between the short form and the long form to make it worth while, especially as we seem to have to push ourselves these days as much as our novels.

        The more people who have heard your name and have good memories associated with you the better it will be for your novel.

        I would never have discovered Mary Robinette Kowal had I not read her award winning short story first. The short was sci-fi while her novel was historical fantasy but I made the cross-over without even noticing the bump in the road.

        Do it!

  2. Publishing those short-shorts on your blog serves much the same purpose, and that’s something I’ve done, too. Still, it might not be too late to pull something together, even if you have to make them available after the novel is already lose on the world.

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